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Chevrolet Impala LS (2001)

SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 23,225
     Price As Tested                                    $ 25,494
     Engine Type               OHV 12-valve 3.8 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 231 cid/3793 cc
     Horsepower                                   200 @ 5200 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               225 @ 4000 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  110.5"/73.0"/200.0"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     3641 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  17.0 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                             P225/60R16 touring
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            20/30/25
     0-60 MPH                                        8.0 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                                  16.0 @ 89.0 mph
     Top-speed                                           125 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

BRENDAN - In my youth, a Chevy Impala cruising down the street was a common site. In our hometown they were everywhere, usually lowered and sporting custom wheels with low profile whitewall tires. These "lowriders" were so prevalent that even my brother Andy bought a '68 version and modified it to go "low and slow." Impala is a name that people remember so it was logical for Chevrolet to capitalize on that interest and bring it back in name if not in spirit. The new 2001 Impala LS is a Chevy that will bring back those memories, as well as create some new ones. Powered by GM's ubiquitous 200-horse 3.8-liter V6 engine, the new Impala is a quick vehicle that gets better than expected fuel economy. With an EPA estimated MPG of 20 city and 30 highway, the Impala LS boasts better highway fuel economy than some of the popular small sedans.

MIKELE - Actually, Andy's '68 was a Caprice - he had a '67 Impala. My Dad would love this car, although it's not quite as quick as his early '60's 409 SS version. He loves GM products so he would be impressed with its modern attributes. The only transmission used in the Impala is an automatic but it would be nice to see a five-speed added in the future. It has all-speed traction control, so trips in bad weather aren't scary, and its ride is controlled by four-wheel independent Sport Touring Suspension. GM seems to be paying attention to today's fickle car buyers and to the kind of smooth-but-nimble ride they want in a new car. Inside, the Impala has lots of no-extra-cost items that attract cost-conscious buyers, like air conditioning, an electric rear-window defogger and cruise control, but it also expands on some those things. It has individual driver and front-passenger climate controls, and a pollen air filtration system, so allergies wouldn't be as bothersome.

BRENDAN - The inside features are impressive, too. Its standard cloth front buckets with an integrated center console are nice, but the leather seat option would make it much more elegant. The driver's seat comes with a six-way power adjustable system, and there is an overhead console compartment for glasses and such, as well as dual front armrest cupholders and delayed entry/exit lights with "theater" dimming. In addition, our LS version had an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player, but a CD changer can be had with eight speakers and steering wheel controls as an upgrade. I recommend it, since cassettes seem to be going the way of the phonograph record. The exterior is very slick, with a sleek design that features 16-inch sport 5-spoke aluminum wheels and a rear deck spoiler that tells people that this is a car that shouldn't be taken lightly.

MIKELE - You know that I'm adamant about a vehicle being safe, Bren, and the Impala LS has the works. Driver and front-passenger airbags are standard, as well as side-impact units. That makes for a well-insulated cabin that would make me feel less stressed should unsafe situations pop up. It has child security rear-door locks so kiddies would have a hard time getting the doors open and falling out. Rear child-seat tether anchors make mounting a child seat lots less cumbersome than those antiques in which you and your siblings were strapped in the old days. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, and so are daytime driving lights, remote keyless entry and automatic exterior lamp control, all of which make the new Chevy Impala LS a good family car as well as a safe, good-looking ride for any young hipster.

BRENDAN - Mikele, Chevrolet's press pack says the median age of Impala owners is 50-54 years old, which puts it well past the demographic profile of today's high-profile Generation X'er or even more youthful car buyer. I can't imagine any of them in a new Impala sedan cruising down the boulevard, cranking the "Blues Brothers" soundtrack CD.

MIKELE - I wonder if any of the aftermarket parts makers make those small, chain-link steering wheels for the new Impala like the one your brother Andy had on his '67 version?

BRENDAN - Somehow I think that's unlikely.